The SIS workbook is the central repository of the SHERPA project where all findings, insights and recommendations are collected and made available.

The SHERPA Delphi Study

This report presents the highlights of the first round of a Delphi Study undertaken by the EU project SHERPA. SHERPA investigates ethical and human rights issues in smart information systems, the combination of artificial intelligence and big data. The first round of the Delphi study consisted of a set of open questions that aimed to determine expert opinions on the following points:

  • What do you think are the three most important ethical or human rights issues raised by AI and / or big data?
  • Which current approaches, methods, or tools for addressing these issues are you aware of?
  • What do you think are the pros and cons of these current approaches, methods, or tools?
  • What would you propose to address such issues better?
  • Which should be the top 3 criteria for society to select and prioritise the most appropriate measures?


Use Guidelines

What is an ethical use of an AI or big data system? In SHERPA we have produced a set of guidelines that not only answers this question, but also answers it a way adapted to the governance and management of organizations that uses AI systems as part of its services.

Development Guidelines

How can we construct an ethical AI or big data system? In SHERPA we have produced a set of guidelines that not only answers this question, but also answers it in a way that is adapted to developing methods.

Case Studies

Ethical, societal and human rights issues related to artificial intelligence based on machine learning and big data analytics are widely discussed. We call these systems Smart Information Systems. Press and academic reports can tend towards sensationalism and scare mongering. They rarely include deep insights into the actual use of these systems. SHERPA therefore developed these case studies which provide the first large-scale empirically-grounded analysis of what is actually happening across a number of sectors in Europe, including government, health care, cybersecurity, telecommunications and insurance.

In this section of the SHERPA website, you find an overview of how the case studies were prepared and conducted. Each of the 10 different case studies is then outlined and you have the opportunity to access the full text of the case. These cases form the first step in a set of activities to better understand and deal with the ethics of Smart Information Systems. Please feel free to use them for your purposes. We will build on them in subsequent steps. If you are interested in this and want to contribute to the development of ways of dealing with them, please sign up to our stakeholder network.


The SHERPA project has developed a number of future scenarios on the use of AI and Big Data analytics in various domains to check our assumptions about the future social conditions that might drive the use of AI and the ethical implications we might have to face as a result.

We are currently crowdsourcing views and opinions on important details, and we want YOU to help us understand where consensus lies and what new directions might we consider.


Predictive Policing


Self Driving Cars


Mimicking Technologies





Aims & Expectations

The SIS workbook is the central repository of the SHERPA project where all findings, insights and recommendations are collected and made available to the various audiences. Its main purpose is to help key audiences to understand the options they have with regards to SIS, for example in terms of SIS policy development (both on a political and an organisational level), SIS development and SIS use. These options will arise from the SHERPA recommendations. The SIS workbook will allow stakeholders to understand their options and provide them with easy access to the underlying reasoning and the evidence upon which it is based, thus supporting evidence-based policy and decision making.

  • Key stakeholder group who will benefit from the SIS workbook include
  • Policymakers, e.g. individuals involved in setting research and research funding policy
  • Developers, e.g. AI researchers in publicly and privately funded organisations
  • Users, e.g. user groups and representatives interested in contributing to policy
    Media, e.g. journalists reporting on SIS aspects and issues.
Logic & Construction of Display

The SIS workbook was constructed in a bottom-up way, starting with the various activities of WP1 designed to provide a better understanding of SIS. These led to the compilation of possible solutions that constitute responsible governance of SIS in WP3. Following the evaluation and prioritisation work in WP4, the SHERPA consortium was in a position to provide suggestions and guidance for dissemination and advocacy in WP5. All of these activities were undertaken in close collaboration with stakeholders as provided by WP2. The following figure shows this logical relationship:

Figure 1: Development of the SIS Workbook from the SHERPA project logic

The individual steps of creating these components are described in the relevant deliverables linked to the tasks that created them. The purpose of figure 1 is to show how the SIS workbook was constructed from the point of view of the SHERPA project. The logic is a bottom-up one, with outputs of WP1 being included in the workbook, while at the same time they forming the input for WP3. In this WP the understanding of ethical and human rights issues of SIS were transformed into a set of options that could be employed to address these issues. WP4 then used these options to work with stakeholders to understand which ones are most relevant and should be prioritised. The SIS Workbook serves as a repository for the outcomes of all of these, while at the same time having the function of displaying and disseminating the insights and findings.

The SIS Workbook also plays a crucial role in linking the stakeholder engagement with the fact finding and recommendation processes by providing a repository for findings and a dynamic resources to be used for stakeholder consultation. It furthermore provides the mechanism for the communication, dissemination and exploitation of the project.

While understanding the logic of the construction of the SIS workbook is important for the SHERPA consortium, it is of less interest to the external stakeholders and eventual users of the workbook. From the user perspective the logic will look like this:

Figure 2 demonstrates the following. A potential user will be interested in questions of how to deal with SIS. They may be looking for input into how to shape research policy or funding calls or how to use SIS in their organisation. They will therefore start using the SIS Workbook by looking at the recommendations that are specific to them of of interest to them. These recommendations are among the results of the SHERPA project and therefore will include and build on the instruments that SHERPA will explore and develop, such as regulatory options, standardisation, a suggestion for a regulator, technical options or other types of guidelines. These recommendations are communicated through the workbook and are supported by and disseminated more widely through communication, dissemination and advocacy activities. Crucial to this will be the artistic representation, which includes the 10 SHERPA videos and the artistic work, which will provide ways of accessing and engaging with topics.

The workbook will be displayed on the website using a bespoke design that will allow for maximum user interaction whilst keeping the content of each deliverable and case study available for those who want to delve further into the SHERPA project.

Each Deliverable will have it’s own horizontal section whose design will be focused on the content of the work packages. The deliverables will then be displayed in each section, pulled in real-time from the admin of the website. This option allows for a better design, and also the ability for team members to make changes that update in real-time rather than waiting for anyone to update static HTML files.

The user may be content to see and work with the relevant recommendations. However, they may also want to know why this particular recommendation is an outcome of SHERPA and why the consortium proposes it to the particular stakeholder group. The workbook will therefore provide a link to the processes used for evaluating and prioritising the different options. This includes activities such as the Delphi study or the focus groups which form part of the evaluation activities.

In addition, the user may want to drill down even deeper and understand why the justification steps ended up with the recommendations that were developed. In this case there will be easy access to the underlying evidence base. This includes the various empirical and analytic activities that form the basis of the SHERPA project, such as case studies, scenarios or technical and theoretical explorations of the state of the art and likely consequences.

The SIS workbook will be the core of the SHERPA website. The consortium will endeavour to make it as dynamic, appealing and user friendly as possible. User feedback will be collected throughout the project whenever stakeholders are involved and contacted and asked to provide feedback on particular issues.

The status of the workbook as shown in figure 2 is the final status. During the period of construction, the workbook will be used to show and highlight current activities these may then migrate to the background but will remain available until the final shape of the workbook is achieved towards the end of the project.

The SIS Workbook is building on and incorporating content that is part of the SHERPA project output. It will not contain any personal data, unless explicit consent is given to share this.

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